Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.



August 2, 2017

Amanda Palmer on her open marriage with Neil Gaiman, now.


Photo by Kyle Cassidy

I've fantasized about Amanda Palmer showing up at one of the national poly conventions, such as Poly Living or Atlanta Poly Weekend or Beyond the Love. Widely known as Amanda Fucking Palmer, she's an outspoken performer and singer (The Dresden Dolls, Evelyn Evelyn) who's been upfront about her open marriage with her husband: science-fantasy author/screenwriter Neil Gaiman. They are geek royalty and, whether they like it or not, a poster couple for successful open marriages.

Five years ago Palmer told Out.com,


I've never been comfortable in a monogamous relationship in my life. I feel like I was built for open relationships just because of the way I function. It's not a reactive decision like, 'Hey I'm on the road, you're on the road, let's just find other people.' It was a fundamental building block of our relationship. We both like things this way.

...The open-ness is grounded in total honesty with one another. We're very communicative with each other and we share everything. I think that's the way you gotta do it. I can't speak for anyone but myself, and there are a million ways to love and be in a relationship. But fundamentally, I think if you're going to have a really, truly loving partnership, you have to be completely transparent, communicating and sharing everything. Neil and I fall more and more in love with each other every day, and I think part of that is because we encourage each other to say more, share more, to peel ourselves open to each other in the middle of the night when the day is done and the real talking happens. It's not always easy, the peeling sometimes hurts, but the deep love it fosters is clear to see.


In 2013 during a Reddit Ask Me Anything (now on her website), she wrote,


"i actually know quite a few people (artists and otherwise) who are in open relationships, but don’t go around broadcasting it. neither do we. i don’t really hang with the poly community or go on “open marriage” pride marches. that being said, there aren’t a lot of people trying to oppress our way of doing things, not actively, at least. if people showed up with pitchforks on my lawn (and my friends’ lawns) regularly, doing some parades might start to look more tasty.


Last year she recommended The Ethical Slut and More Than Two to a questioner on Twitter, but if she's talked much more about the subject, it doesn't immediately pop up on the web. So, naturally, the poly world has been curious.

A few days ago she did talk more about it, on the celebrity-chat podcast Talk The Line. And my fantasy balloon kind of went pssshshhhh. Listen here:



The original site (July 28, 2017).

Palmer talks about their very primary open marriage from 31:30 to 36:45. No sign of anyone else being considered, like, an actual person, with, you know, feelings.

Maybe she's just been about getting it on with casuals with no hearts on the line, and that would be fine, but is that really all there is here?

My transcript:


...It was a condition of our relationship. ...The relationship that I came out of before Neil, [former guy] was a strict monogamist. And I was enough in love that I thought ya know, I'm in my early 30s, I have done a lot of slutting around. I'm really in love, I can do this. I can be done with sleeping with everyone I want to, that's fine. But the conversation came up pretty fast, 'cause when Neil and I met and started dating we talked about everything. And he was like, "I'm totally game to let you sleep with whoever you want," and I was like "Great! I'm game for that too. Let's definitely do that."

And to be fair, or to be totally honest, we agreed to shut down the openness of our relationship until further notice at least when I got pregnant, because it was too complicated. And it's been complicated. Being in an open marriage, or a polygamous relationship [sic], you might think it would make the relationship easier, simpler. It actually means you need to maintain a stronger relationship, a more communicative relationship. It needs to be so grounded, to weather the energy of other sexual partners, that if you're not really ready to do that work, I wouldn't recommend it.

And do you talk about it? Like "Hey darling, what did you do last night?" "I just went and fucked some guy."--?

Yeah, except that doesn't happen very often. Especially as we've gotten older and we've experimented with what works and doesn't work and what drives the other one into a jealous rage, we've had to impose sort of more boundaries and rules and understandings, because, fundamentally, we love each other and we are a primary relationship. And so anything that is going to threaten our marriage has to go. And, plenty of those things have happened. And any time something comes in to threaten our marriage, whether it's a breaking of trust, or a person who's slightly too crazy, or this that or the other thing. It's difficult but we have to sit there and talk about it, sort it and deal with it. And we deal with that — the same way people in "more normal" monogamous marriages, deal with all the shit they have to deal with. ... So a lot of it is the same set of issues, you just stick a different frame around it.

... A lot of it now is now like, Neil's in his fifties, I'm in my forties, neither of us are all that into super-casual sex. And neither of us are into sleeping with random crazy people. So, a lot of this happens in a more boring adult way.... Things like that do come up in conversation, and since it's been a number of years now since I've slept with anyone but Neil, I can't even remember. I'm so focused on my child right now instead....


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9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your first mistake was that assuming Amanda Palmer was a decent person.

August 03, 2017 7:38 AM  
Blogger Gillian Daniels said...

I was unaware the above excerpts were at all indecent. Would you please enlighten me?

August 03, 2017 1:55 PM  
Blogger irridia said...

What the hell is wrong with you people? Grow up! And FFS stop with the slut shaming! I couldn't help but notice that you have nothing negative to say about Neil and he's in the exact same relationship she's in, so...

August 03, 2017 1:58 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

Not slut shaming, at least not on my part; casual sex is fine if that's what she (or the two of them) are doing and the other people understand this.

But she/they are often called polyamorous, which means many loves. If they have other real partners, rather than playmates, a key poly standard of behavior is that secondaries are not disposable like Kleenexes when a primary couple has problems. They deserve to be treated respectfully, like valued people. Even if ending it is necessary. I heard nothing about the other people or their feelings.

As for Neil, he wasn't in the interview.

"And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things."
--Granny Weatherwax, via Franklin Veaux / Eve Rickert

August 03, 2017 4:49 PM  
Blogger Crista Barberini said...

i really don't get what the big deal is. she describes where they're at, in this period of their relationship. sounds like you feel this is somehow a lesser version of poly. being poly doesn't mean you have to sleep with at least x people in y days or months or years. not by my lights.

August 03, 2017 8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe other people have called them polyamorous, but Amanda has always used the phrase "open marraige" and explicitly says that they aren't part of the poly community.

She has also, in the past, said that they don't maintain long-term romantic relationships outside of their marraige.

Casual doesn't mean disrespect. As long as everybody involved knows that that's what they're getting into, and Amanda has always been very open that her relationship style is open marraige with casual sex on the side, NOT polyamory. Why should she be held to the conventions of a community she deliberately doesn't associate with, just because some people mistakenly claim she's a part of it?

--Rebecca

August 04, 2017 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing in this indicates they've misrepresented themselves to or misinformed anyone who was personally involved with them. Being upset that the consensually negotiated relationship of adults doesn't look exactly like what we wanted is the mindset of the status quo.

August 04, 2017 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What they're doing is fine for open relationships. I don't think they're really polyamorous, although I think I've heard that term casually used in reference to them. They're good people. They just don't do polyamory. That's okay.

August 11, 2017 8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the thing. She could, they could, discuss their outside sexual encounters or secondary partners (before pregnancy), but neither of them do. You know there are interviewers who dig for that stuff; who'd like nothing better than what they view as a sexy expose. That to me say they respect whomever else has been a part of their life, sexual partner or more than that. She's not a terrific example for the poly community. She doesn't have to be. No one has to be the poster-child for a movement just because they're famous in another part of their life. People hate on her for her Patreon success. They get mad she's not more X or more Y. I personally can't invest my self-worth in anyone's celebrity or even artistry. The poly community is super supportive in my experience. Who needs these guys? Read a book. Listen to album. And let those things be what they are.

September 09, 2017 4:52 PM  

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